Hometown Hero

Former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro returns to his roots for presidential announcement

Former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro makes presidential announcement

Julian Castro announcing presidential race 2020
Castro announced his candidacy from the Plaza Guadalupe on San Antonio's Westside. Julian Castro/Facebook

Former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro returned to his roots on January 12 to announce he is officially joining the 2020 presidential race. 

Castro's announcement was a family affair, made in the Plaza Guadalupe on San Antonio's Westside, just steps from Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where Castro and his twin brother, Joaquin, were baptized as babies.

After being introduced by his brother and mother, Castro took the stage for a 20-minute speech in which he derided the negative tone of the current administration, applauded the work of the press, and reiterated the role of immigrants in the American story. 

"This is a community built by immigrants," the candidate said, pointing to his grandmother Victoria, who came to San Antonio from Mexico as a 7-year-old orphan and settled on the Westside. Castro spoke of his mother, Rosie, who began her work as a neighborhood community activist, joining the Committee for Barrio Betterment in the early 1970s. 

Like his grandmother and mother, Castro also grew up on the Westside where he attended school before heading to Stanford University for college followed by Harvard Law School. Making their way to the January 12 rally, the Castro brothers rode the No. 68 bus, the same route they took to get to school and their mother's work.

In his speech, some of which he gave in Spanish, Castro repeatedly referenced his humble roots — and got a slight dig in at that other Texas candidate. "There are no frontrunners that are born here," Castro said of his Westside neighborhood, "but I've always believed with big dreams and hard work, anything is possible."

And unlike that other Texas candidate, Castro's candidacy was hardly a secret. Late last year, Joaquin admitted on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that his brother was running in 2020. 

Castro, who also served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, is the third major Democratic contender to enter the ring. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her candidacy in a December 31 Instagram post, while Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard announced on January 11.